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Articulation Therapy

Articulation Therapy

Strategies for Strong Speech

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but children in speech therapy can be difficult to understand.
(I know, I know. Captain obvious is here to preach to the choir.)
Whether they present with an articulation disorder, phonological processes, dysarthria, or anything in between… they just might benefit from my “punching it out” strategy. It has become my go-to magic fix for a bunch of my kiddos and my hope is that you may find it beneficial too.

I started using this strategy because I notice so many of my kids tend to “mush” or skip right over those pesky medial consonants. Whether they’re gliding or omitting- it really impacts intelligibility. I wanted to come up with a way for them to easily understand the concept of “hard articulatory contact.”

I wanted something that could lend itself to a visual, a hand gesture, and a catchy little saying. That way it’s easy for both my kiddos AND my parents to understand and remember.

Enter: “PUNCH IT OUT!”

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When we punch it out, we use our fists like boxers to make our sounds SO STRONG! It’s amazing some of the phonemes my kids are able to place back in their words once they remember to use their strong sounds. Final consonant deletion and weak syllable deletion, beware! It turns “wayer” into “water” and “kaoo” into “kangaroo”. It’s awesome!

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In addition to “punching it out” we also talk about speaking slowly. When our friends speak slow (and we support them by speaking slowly too), they have more time to think about their good speech sounds.

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Sometimes, if a kiddo needs some extra EXTRA support we talk about speaking slow like Flash from Zootopia. (I have a picture of his cute slothy self in my therapy room as well.) If your turtle isn’t enough, Flash should definitely drive home the concept of slow speech if nothing else will. It can be hard to take our time talking… but it’s a necessary discomfort.

These two strategies- punching it out and slow speech- are my two most frequent for speech therapy. I know nothing is a cure-all and every child requires individualized treatment… but I’ll be darned if these don’t help most of my kids.

If you want access to these visual supports you can check out my Visual Starter Pack. I hope some of your kids respond to these cues and you guys enjoy working on your left hook in the process. 😉

-Lindsey

Articulation Therapy, Generally SpeechyThings, Language Therapy, Little Friends, Older Friends

Let’s Talk Visuals

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My biggest takeaway from my internship in a public school was the use and value of visual supports. My supervisor was the visual QUEEN and while I didn’t fully understand why at the time… I certainly do now.

The way I see it, there are two major reasons you should consider using visuals in therapy:

  1. If our kids are language delayed, language may not be their best learning method. For receptively delayed kids, more words mean more confusion, higher frustration, and less success. Providing them with a visual reminder, cue, or explanation may be their key to success in learning skills and handling emotions. For our behavior kiddos, it can mean pointing to a desired action rather than them hearing the word “NO” one more time in their day.
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  2. You are building a cueing system. Your option for cueing your kids with minimal visual cues (or better yet- them self-regulating and checking back to their cue independently) is stronger if you START using that cue early on.

 

Tips on Smart Visual Creation and Storage

Once upon a caseload, I was a young CF with lots of extra time. I took advantage by building my own visual library. I used (and still use) the visuals I collected for picture exchanges, cueing, behavior supports… the works! My biggest recommendations to you as you create your own library are the following:

  1. Invest in binders and tons of velcro (check amazon for better velcro prices!). Velcro strips are excellent for storage purposes on binder pages but velcro dots may be your best friend when it comes time to place velcro on the back of a visual. I have ruined many-a-scissor and wasted many-a-hour from cutting sticky velcro strips.
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  2. Pick a system. I chose to have the “scratchy” side of my velcro as the anchor and the “soft” side on the back of visual supports. REGRET! Put the “scratchy” side on your visuals to allow using them on felt boards later on. Learn from my misfortune…. it’s too late for me but save yourselves.
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  3. Laminate EVERYTHING and keep it forever. If you are going to spend the time putting all of these visuals together- do it right the first time. If you want to save yourself HOURS AND HOURS of googling you can check out my SLP visual kit (pictured below). You still have to laminate… but you don’t have to google for (did I mention?) HOURS AND HOURS to find cute, high quality, comprehensive images. I did it for you. It took me forever. <3

 

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Soapbox over. Use your sweet kiddo’s eyeballs like the sponges they are! Our little learners all have different needs and modalities- we don’t talk about that enough in grad school.

I would love to hear about your favorite visual supports. Send me a message or comment! Best of Luck!
-Lindsey

Articulation Therapy

Quick Artic : Activities for Articulation Therapy

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I have a little box I keep in my room filled with quick activities that are low-prep and fast to complete. I like to use them to break the monotony that sometimes characterizes articulation drill work. Several of them also work well to give kids little brain breaks during evaluations. Here’s a tour:

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Classic Games

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I especially use these for older kids (perhaps 6 or 7 and up). Here we have a cute magnetic travel version of checkers and tic tac to (Target dollar spot- of course), and a deck of cards- mostly used to play War.

I would like to add a few more travel sized games over time- particularly connect four!
(does anyone else get excited when they accidentally rhyme?)

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A few finger sports for those competitive kiddos! Just make sure they are old enough for the fine motor skills- it can be tough.

Also- the football goals came with 3 so sometimes I will set them up and tape artic cards to the wall behind them. That way the kiddo can make a “field goal” (impressed with my own football knowledge) to select their next practice word.

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These I use for those “middle” kids- about 4yo usually. We use the magnifying glass to search for our words and the key is MAGICAL for practicing /k/. For all those phono kids who front- go to Michael’s and buy yourself a $1 key. Then go “unlock” every door you can find with said key. They love it!

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These goofy things are great for everybody! The rubber chickens were another dollar spot find- they’re little finger rockets. For older kiddos, you can use them to compete for the farthest chicken launch. For younger kiddos, they can try to catch the chicken (they are difficulty for young ones to fly). Giggles are included with purchase. 😉

And of course the classic crocodile dentist- fast and fun!
Any toy that builds such anticipation is a win.

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Also pictured inside the box is a giant die- great for determining how many reps of a target word a kiddo will do.

And there you have it! Just a few ideas to add to your already stellar therapy supply. Variety is good for the kids but let’s be real… it’s also important for us. 😉

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Happy artic-ing!

-Lindsey